Monday, September 1, 2008

Maxine's Chicken and Waffles

After searching in vain in both Fountain Square and Mass Ave for an eatery open on Labor Day, the FLO stumbled upon a vision in southern deep fried glory on East Street. We had heard that a new soul food restaurant had opened up downtown. Usually our waistline concerns prevent us from considering such delicacies, but hey, we were in a pinch. And man are we happier for it!

Maxine's Chicken and Waffles may make northerners scratch their heads. Fried chicken atop waffles? We decided to leave that for another time. But we will be back to give it a go!

Upon entering, we were surprised to be seated; not just expected to walk up to a counter and grab a tray? We immediately noticed the large shower/fountain/wishing well in the center of the dining room. This made for a loud, but not unpleasant atmosphere. The rest of the interior was adorned in stucco with large arches and sconces on the walls. While tasteful, it seemed somehow out of place with the deep fried goodness being served.

After being seated, we both opted for one of the house specialties: B&K Ice tea. It's a mixture of sweetened iced tea & lemonade. Very refreshing! While looking over the menu, we immediately decided on a FLO-favorite as an appetizer: fried green tomatoes! YUM! Somehow we knew they'd be done right: thinly sliced. no flour. Just the perfect cornmeal breading. They were served with a creamy dipping sauce heavy on the onion. Ozzy, spying the green within the crust, dove into the complimentary corn bread instead. One very buttery face later, he was a happy boy.

For the main course, Libby opted for the smothered boneless friend chicken, mashed potatoes and collard greens. She bestowed her mac-n-cheese on Ozzy who gave it two big thumbs up. Fred was torn between several of the hearty breakfast-all-day offerings, but ended up going with a blackened catfish sandwich with fried apples on the side.

Yowsa! Libby's boneless fried chicken was cooked to perfection. How do you get boneless chicken with the skin intact? The gravy was unlike any we'd tasted before. There was no milk, just the drippings from the chicken, some stock, flour and spices. Heavenly.

Fred's blackened catfish sandwich was well seasoned and perfectly cooked, but unfortunately too small a fillet for the oversized bun and toppings. Good stuff though and the fried apples were pie without the crust. Tender, sweet and warm. Delish.

Libby had never tried collard greens before. She was pleasantly surprised to find them something familiar. Very cabbage-like without the tang of vinegar. Instead, these had a porky goodness that complimented the smothered chicken.

After seeing a plate of the chicken and waffles walk past, Libby was ready for another visit. Somehow we don't think Ozzy would complain.

Wrap Up
Price-$$, Certainly reasonable especially for the large portions (Fred's sandwich not withstanding)
Atmosphere-** - ***, Open kitchen and lively dining area as one might expect. But the contemporary decor was somehow too stuffy for the comfort food within.
Service-***, Greeted at the door by an eager and accommodating host. Our server seemed almost offended that we were not able to finish our plates...sorry...wanted to...believe us.

Fred - B, Fried chicken. fried catfish. fried green tomatoes. fried apples. fried arteries. oh yeah.
Libby - B+, Although I don't have the most experienced southern food palate, the fried chicken was perfect. As for the mashed potatoes and gravy, more seasoning please!
Ozzy - B+, When asked if his mac-n-cheese was good, he simply replied "yup". But 3 piece of cornbread spoke volumes...
Maxine's Chicken and Waffles on Urbanspoon


Lola said...

I ate there about a month ago and was pleasantly surprised! I am loving your site!

Fred, Libby and Ozzy Milch. said...

Glad you're enjoying it. We certainly have fun "researching" & writing it!

Anonymous said...

We love food, too! Just found your blog and am loving it as a fellow Southsider with a family. One thing about this "Southern Flare" soulfood place--Chicken and Waffles may have Southern foods as its base, but the origins of this specific dish are actually from Harlem. After a hard night of Jazz, the musicians wanted to eat, but it was too late for dinner and too early for breakfast, so they mixed them. Voila, chicken and waffles. At least, that's how the story goes. This one is on my must try list.

Anonymous said...

We visited 3:30pm today for a bite to eat and something cold to drink. I came by because I had always heard good things about the cuisine. Regrettably, our experience today has me questioning whether we would visit again or recommend it to anyone else.

We were seated and the server (young female, did not catch her name) was rather pleasant when she showed us to our table. We proceeded to order two iced teas, a chicken and waffle plate and a side of fried corn bread for my fiancée. First the iced teas where delayed for a few minutes because they were brewing more as the server explained, which was no big deal. Next my plate came with the waffle and chicken, during which the server explained she would bring the corn bread soon. We waited and waited, yet no corn bread. As my food was getting cold, my fiancée told me to go ahead and eat. When the server came back to our table, my fiancée attempted to say something to the server about her corn bread, but the server seemed to blatantly ignore her. As the corn bread never came for my fiancée and I had now finished my food, she was very upset and felt like the server was ignoring her intentionally. I then asked for the bill when she finally returned to our table. She brought the bill, which was without any charge for the corn bread, but then took an additional 10 minutes to get my change as she stopped to chat with friends at another table in between retrieving my change.

As we left, my fiancée was very upset and even to tears as she felt humiliated by the server ignoring and not serving her (for what reason we really have no idea). We are not certain whether this was intentional or carelessness, but the resulting impression upon this establishment was extremely poor. fiancée is also an Award-Winning Master Chef who has run many successful restaurants and is currently planning to open a new establishment in Indianapolis. As a professional with many years of experience in the business, she was especially disappointed with the service and said to me "This is not how you treat customers. You could not drag me back into that place again without some apology. I felt humiliated by being ignored like that....that was unacceptable to me".

Fred, Libby, Ozzy and Estelle(Stella) said...

Holy cow. I must admit that in the 2 times I've been back since the review, the service hasn't been great. Nothing to put up a public complaint about, but not really attentive either. Sorry to hear you had such an ordeal.

What sort of restaurant are you two thinking of opening? :)